SW Minnesota Drowning Victim Body Recovered; Mahnomen Health Center Eliminating In-Patient Care; Oak Wilt Risk Increases

>>Body Of 15-Year-Old Boy Found In Lake In Cottonwood County

(Eagle Lake, MN)    Authorities in Cottonwood County say the body of a 15-year-old boy has been found in Eagle Lake.  The body was found about four feet underwater yesterday morning.  The boy was reportedly canoeing with his sister on Monday when he jumped into the water to try to retrieve a lost oar.  The Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office has declined to release the boy’s name, saying more details about the case will be released in the next few weeks. (24/7 News Source)

(Mahnomen) One of Minnesota’s smallest hospitals is eliminating inpatient care and converting to a rural emergency center in order to keep its doors open amid financial struggles. Mahnomen Health Center notified the state earlier this month of plans to close the hospital’s inpatient unit and only operate an emergency room to stabilize and observe patients. According to the Star Tribune, state leaders said the hospital could be the first of many to be forced by financial shortfalls into this transition, which will be discussed at a state public hearing on April 30 and then take effect the next day. The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday announced the informational hearing — the eighth since the state started requiring them before substantial changes in hospital operations. (Star Tribune)

Earlier hearings covered the closures of baby delivery units in Fosston, among others.

>>State To Give $20M In Special Education Grants

(St. Paul, MN)    The state will give nearly 20-million dollars to schools around Minnesota to help hire more special education teachers.  The grants announced yesterday will go to 25 school districts, charter schools and cooperatives, including about 13-million to organizations outside the Twin Cities.  Governor Walz called the grants a big step on the path to building the state’s education workforce.  Another ten-million in grants will be awarded later this year.(24/7 News Source)

>>Republicans Urge State Lawmakers To Support $120M For EMS

(St. Paul, MN)    Minnesota Republicans are urging their colleagues in the legislature to give more funding to struggling EMS providers around the state.  Republicans called for the additional money during an event at the state capitol yesterday.  The GOP says providers need 120-milion dollars to keep from reducing services or closing down due to low reimbursement rates.  DFL leaders have proposed 16-million in funding this year, with more discussion about long-term solutions when the next state budget cycle begins.(24/7 News Source)

>>University Of Minnesota Extension Raises Risk Level For Oak Wilt

(Minneapolis, MN)    The University of Minnesota Extension office says the risk posed by a disease affecting oak trees has increased due to the warm winter weather.  The office raised its oak wilt risk level to high this week.  The disease is caused by a fungus that spreads through root systems or is taken from tree to tree by insects.  The office is advising Minnesotans that care for oak trees to avoid pruning or cutting down oak trees and to cover any wounds in the trees with paint or shellac to protect them.(24/7 News Source)

>>Two Minnesotans On Time List Of Most Influential People

(Minneapolis, MN)    Two Minnesotans are being recognized by Time magazine for being among the 100 most influential people in the world.  Dr. Rachel Hardeman of the University of Minnesota was recognized among the top innovators in the annual listing for her research on how racism affects health.  Land O’ Lakes president and CEO Beth Ford was also on the list among “titans” like Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.  Both women said they were honored to be included on the list and hoped it would lead to an examination of critical issues like racism and investment in agriculture.(24/7 News Source)

>>Interim Presidents Named At St. Cloud State, NCTC

(St. Paul, MN)    Two Minnesota colleges will have new leadership beginning July 1st.  The board of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has selected Shari Olson to serve as the interim president of Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls.  The board also named Larry Dietz as interim president of St. Cloud State University.  Olson and Dietz both came out of retirement to take the jobs and will remain in place until a new president for each school is selected.(24/7 News Source)

>>Governor Walz Backs Proposal To Combat Copper Wire Theft

(St. Paul, MN) — Governor Tim Walz has expressed his full support for proposed legislation addressing the copper wire theft issue in Minnesota. The legislation, introduced in both the House and Senate, seeks to curb thefts that have cost the city of St. Paul over one-million dollars to replace stolen copper wire. With over 100 streetlights darkened around Lake Como alone, city officials emphasize the urgent need for action to tackle this problem, which extends beyond streetlights to various other infrastructure components. A multi-faceted approach, including stricter regulations and enhanced law enforcement efforts, is being pursued to deter theft and safeguard public safety.(24/7 News Source)

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